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May 1 2007

 

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL Rank) SB CS
ATL 15-9 129 5.38 2 805 (3) 6 3
PHI 11-13 121 5.04 4 804 (4) 17 3

 

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
ATL 15-9 115 4.79 12 4.60 (9) 3.93 (11)
PHI 11-13 116 4.83 13 4.96 (15) 3.51 (8)

The Phillies are the team to beat in the NL East this season.  It's nice to see the confidence.  What would be even nicer, though, is to see Jimmy Rollins and company not get the snot kicked out of them year after year.

After 25 games the Phillies have gone 1-7 against the Mets and the Braves and 10-7 against everyone else.  There is no question about who the teams to beat in the NL East are -- nobody other than the Mets and Braves has won the division since 1994.

Some have been more than willing to throw the team's starting pitching under the bus when trying to explain the problems the Phillies have had in recent seasons.  And perhaps with good reason.  This year, however, the Phillies have scored 11 runs in four games against the Braves and 13 runs in three games against the Mets.  In six of the seven games the Phillies' starter has allowed three or fewer earned runs.

The Phillies fell to the Atlanta Braves last night, losing 5-2 on a three-run walkoff home run from Andruw Jones.  They are 11-14 and have lost three of their last five.

Jon Lieber got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, on seven hits and a very uncharacteristic six walks.  Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run by Chipper Jones.  Lieber struck out two.   

Lieber walked Kelly Johnson to lead off the first, but Edgar Renteria was next and Lieber got him to hit into a double-play.  Chipper Jones flew to Rowand in center to set the Braves down.

Andruw Jones singled to left to start the second, but again Lieber got a double-play, this one from Brian McCann.  Lieber struck out Jeff Francoeur to end the inning.

Tim Hudson singled with two outs in the third, but Johnson was next and lined to center on a driving catch from Rowand to end the inning.

Renteria led off the fourth with a single on another line drive to center.  Rowand dove for this one too but didn't get it.  He managed to knock it down, though, which held Renteria to a single.  Chipper flew to left, Andruw flew to right and McCann grounded to Utley to set the Braves down.

In the fifth, Francoeur led off with a single before Scott Thorman flew to center for the first out.  Willie Harris, just up from Triple-A after the Braves traded Ryan Langerhans to the A's, singled to left.  Burrell took a knee to field it but the ball bounced off his chest.  He threw to third, but Francoeur was safe there will Harris going to second on the error.  With runners on second and third with one down, Tim Hudson hit a ground ball that Rollins had to move right to field.  He didn't have a chance to get Francoeur, so Rollins threw out Hudson at first with Atlanta up 1-0 and two down.  Johnson walked again, but Renteria grounded to short to end the inning.

After the Phillies scored twice in the top of the sixth to pull ahead, Chipper led off the sixth with a home run to center that tied the game at 2-2.  Andruw followed with a walk and McCann moved him to second with a single.  Lieber struck out Francoeur for the first out and got Thorman on a line drive to left for the second.  Harris walked to load the bases, but Hudson hit for himself and grounded to third to end the inning. 

Johnson walked for the third time in the game to lead off the seventh.  With Renteria at the plate, Johnson stole second despite a strong throw from Ruiz.  The throw was in plenty of time, but Rollins dropped the ball applying the tag.  Renteria lined to short for the first out, and Lieber walked Chipper intentionally.  With Lieber having thrown 107 but due to lead off the bottom of the inning, Manuel left him in to face the righty Andruw Jones.  Andruw smoked the ball to third, but Nunez started a double-play to end the inning.  Phils may have gotten away with one there. 

Brett Myers started the eighth in a 2-2 game.  He struck out McCann for the first out, but Francoeur singled and Thorman moved him to second with another single.  With Harris at the plate, Myers uncorked a wild 1-2 pitch that moved the runners to second and third with one down.  Myers struck out Harris for the second out and got pinch-hitter Brayan Pena on a dribbler out in front of the plate to end the inning. 

Manuel brought in Alfonseca to pitch the ninth after Myers threw 19 pitches in the eighth.  Johnson led off with a single and Renteria bunted.  His bunt was in the air and Alfonseca dove for it but didn't get it.  Nunez played it on a bounce and threw Johnson, who had to wait when the bunt was popped up, out at second easily.  Alfonseca walked Chipper, putting men at first and second with one down.  Andruw Jones hit it way out to left to give the Braves a 5-2 win. 

No objections from me about not bringing Myers back to pitch the ninth.  Manuel seems a lot more comfortable managing with Myers available in the pen, so I'm okay with giving the other guys a shot if it means Myers is available for more games.  Especially Alfonseca, who had been good so far this year coming into last night's game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Rowand (7) Nunez (8) Ruiz.  Helms on the bench with Nunez at third again.  Helms will no doubt be back at third tonight when the Braves start the lefty Redman.  Ruiz has started five of the last seven games for the Phils. 

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

In the second, Burrell walked with one out and Rowand followed and was hit by a pitch.  With runners on first and second with one out, Nunez hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third and again in the fourth. 

Rowand singled with one out in the fifth.  Nunez followed and grounded to third, with the Braves forcing Rowand at second and Nunez safe at first.  Ruiz grounded to third for the final out of the inning.

With one out in the sixth, Rollins and Victorino singled back-to-back with Victorino's single into right sending Rollins to third.  Utley hit a ball well to center, but Andruw Jones tracked it down.  Rollins scored from third to tie the game at 1-1.  With Howard at the plate, Victorino stole second.  It would prove valuable for the Phils -- Howard followed with a single that scored Victorino and put the Phils up 2-1.  Burrell flew to left to set the Phils down.  It was a nice inning for the Phils that saw big hits from Victorino and Howard, two guys who have been struggling.

Aaron Rowand was due to lead off the seventh but Michael Bourn pinch-hit for him.  Rowand has been banged around the last couple of games diving for balls in the outfield and was hit by a pitch last night for the third straight game.   Bourn grounded to short for the first out as the Phils went 1-2-3 on three ground outs.

They went 1-2-3 again in the eighth. 

Utley and Howard went down to start the ninth and the Braves kept lefty Mike Gonzalez in to face Burrell.  Gonzalez struck him out to end the inning.

The Phillies had four hits on the night, all of them singles.  At least Nunez is sharp.

Rollins was 1-for-4.  He's 7-for-his-last-19.

Victorino was 1-for-4 as his average dropped to .260.  He helped the Phillies score a run with his seventh stolen base of the year.  Six extra-base hits in his first 96 at-bats, all of them doubles.

Utley was 0-for-3 with an RBI.  He has driven in at least one run in four straight games and in eight of the last ten.

Howard was 1-for-4 with an RBI. 

Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.  0-for-his-last-11 with five strikeouts. 

Rowand was 1-for-1 and hit by another pitch.  This article says he is questionable for tonight's game with a knot in his back.  It must be quite a knot if it's causing him more of a problem than getting drilled three games in a row. 

Nunez was 0-for-3 and left three men on base.  Please stop.

Ruiz was 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.24) faces lefty Mark Redman (0-3, 10.13) tonight.  Hamels struggled his last time out, allowing four runs in just 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Thursday.  Tonight will be his sixth start of the season.  In his two night starts he has thrown to an 0.56 ERA in 16 innings.  In his three starts in day games he's gone 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA, allowing 23 hits in 17 1/3 innings.  Read all about Hamels' problems with night and day.  Redman may be pitching for his spot in the rotation after allowing five or more earned runs in three of his first four starts.  Righties are hitting .409 against him this season, lefties .125.  Righties hit .326 against him last season, so it's possible it's just not his thing.

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